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80s Pilsen Backyard Circus

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Run Time
0h 4m 35s
Date Produced
Silent footage of an amateur circus performance in a backyard in the Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen in the 1980s.
After a brief overhead shot, a woman twirls a flaming baton on a stage. Adults and children watch from folding chairs set up in a crowded backyard, which has a two-dimensional painted circus tent set up behind the stage and a divider constructed from a quilt of American flags. Next, an older man wearing a fake nose lifts oversized weights while a young girl plays an accordion. In the next shot, a woman sings while a man hits a singing saw with a mallet. Local puppeteer Matthew Owens is up next; he slowly unbuttons his shirt to reveal a large rubber face covering his abdomen. He performs a dance with a straight face, moving his chest and hips so as to make the face appear animated. The following scene depicts one woman playing a flute while another woman dressed in a leotard dances with a pair of oversized butterfly wings. Then, a clown (Douglas Grew) delights children in the audience by balancing (and then dropping) a large number of boxes. The ringleader then invites all of the performers to join together to march across the stage.
Main Credits
Palazzolo, Tom (is filmmaker)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Owens, Matthew (is performer)
Grew, Douglas (is performer)
Related Place
Chicago (represents)